Every company with a website is a publisher. The more forward-thinking companies today are embracing that concept. They’re transforming their online newsrooms from press release archives into dynamic information hubs that aren’t just about them, but about their industry and the topics their customers care about.
The Imperial Sugar Company newsroom is a prime example of a company thinking like a publisher. The newsroom features a sugar industry newsfeed and stories written for the newsroom by journalists.
Cisco’s pioneering [email protected] newsroom is another example, albeit on a much larger scale. [email protected] includes feature stories written by top journalists, video clips, and easy access to Cisco blogs and social media content, among other elements. You can even receive text-message alerts when new content goes live on the [email protected] microsite.
A fair amount of [email protected] content, including a recent article “Can Gaming Change the World?” doesn’t even mention Cisco, its products, or partners. The only reference to Cisco in the gaming story is a mention of broadband Internet connections; Cisco’s long been known as a network technology leader.
So what’s in it for these companies? Here are 5 reasons why you should consider taking your online newsroom beyond press releases:
Posting compelling, useful, informative, thought-provoking content in your newsroom can increase traffic. For example, the Imperial Sugar Company newsroom receives far more traffic than the main Imperial Sugar website.
Better search engine rankings via links
Transforming your online newsroom into a dynamic information hub with link-worthy content will help you earn valuable, legitimate links from other sites. Search engines view these links as votes of confidence for your content, which in turn helps boost that content’s position in search engine results. Imperial Sugar Company’s newsroom content in total has earned about four times as many links from external web pages compared to the main Imperial Sugar Company site.
Making your newsroom content about your industry, and not just about you, shows leadership. It enables your company to start meaningful conversations with its customers, partners, and even competitors. It shows you’re a thought leader.
In the post Enron era, transparency is key to earning customers’ trust. Showcasing social media content, such as Twitter updates related to your company (which anyone on Twitter can write), helps convey the message that your company is open, transparent, and listening to customers.
Offering a dynamic, useful information hub—whether it’s in your newsroom or a resources area on your site—helps you develop an ongoing relationship with customers. Visitors to the site will come back if you offer them valuable information. And the more connected they feel to you, the more likely they are to buy your products and services.
An easy way to get started
Transforming your newsroom into a dynamic information hub requires time and money, of course—something that is in short supply for many businesses. But there are a few simple steps you can take right away that won’t cost you any additional resources. A good place to begin: Write press releases that directly address your customers’ needs rather than trumpeting how great your product or service is. Write your release using natural language, without hype or jargon, and optimize it with the right keywords in the right places.
James A. Martin is an SEO copywriter and consultant based in San Francisco.